Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ski Racing Heresy

On Saturday, I skied Beaver Creek for the first time since the 1999 World Alpine Championships. From the Larkspur chair, it looked like Birds of Prey had been groomed, so I took a trip down memory lane and headed up to the top of the race course.

I first discovered, thankfully, that the painfully slow race lift has since been replaced (in typical Beaver Creek style) with a high-speed quad, the "Birds of Prey Express".

What I discovered next was nauseating.

The first 25 seconds of North America's most ferocious, ass-kicking, rectum-puckering DH course has been turned into..... a terrain park.

That's right. The hallowed ground where Michey and Daron and Bode and Hermann have swallowed their fear and let 'em run . . . is now a playground for ramp monkeys.

Thus proving the end of the world is nigh.

With the utmost respect, I made my way carefully over The Brink on solid windblown ice (wearing randonee boots clicked into never-been-tuned 104 x 193 fat boys with edges as sharp as a ham sandwich) and discovered that Greg & crew froze the course so hard in November that basically not one flake of the 300 inches of snow that has fallen since World Cup has stuck to the course between the Mens Bad Weather Start and Pumphouse. That whole section is still the consistency of stainless steel, streaked the color of snowmaking dishwater.

Needless to say, there was nobody else up there with whom to share these thoughts. The Ramp Monkeys pull off to skier's right just before The Brink.